NAIROBI, September 9 – Blind athlete Francis Thuo opened Kenya’s medal account at the ongoing Paralympics Games on Tuesday afternoon when he won silver in the men’s 5,000 metres T11 category.
Defending champion and World record holder Henry Wanyoike paid dearly for his early pacemaking duties finishing third as China’s Zhen Zhang won gold in 15:27.35.
Thuo made his move with two laps to go moving to the front but had no answer to the Zhang’s vicious finishing kick in the final 150 metres as the 24 year old sped away to win by a huge margin.
Thuo timed 15:32.28 while Wanyoike trudged home in 15:47.17- more than 30 seconds off his personal best.
The Kenyan duo had stayed in the pack for the first few laps content to let others dictate the pace.
Wanyoike moved to the front after the 2,000 metre mark and upped the tempo as he sought to drop off the chasing pack passing the 3,000 metre mark in 9:23.09.
He kept the lead in the next kilometre as Thuo moved up to second but he then faded off as the athletes approached the final two laps.
Thuo took over the lead in the penultimate lap but he could not shake off the Zhang who then powered away for victory.
Earlier, double All Africa Games gold medalist Abraham Tarbei and Stephen Musyoka Wambua both qualified to the next round of the men’s 1500 metres T46 class.
Tarbei was placed second in heat one behind Algeria’s Samir Nouioua in a time of 4:07.59.
Wambua who finished fifth in heat two qualified as one of the fastest losers timing 4:10.53. His heat was won by Ethiopia’s Kebede Tesfalem.
In the men’s 5,000 metres T13 category race, Henry Kiprono Kirwa won his heat to qualify for the final. The 34 year old veteran clocked 15:45.71 to win ahead of Tim Prendergast of New Zealand.